As we enter the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, let’s remember that today is Giving Tuesday. We’ve had our fun with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but may we remember the reason for the season.

Private charity is an important part of taking care of those in need in this country. While the federal government spends over $500 billion each year on welfare and medicaid programs, Americans gave nearly $400 billion to charities last year.

In the past we’ve written about how private charity can often meet the healthcare needs of those who can’t afford it and historically there were many solutions to providing for the poor prior to the welfare state—this one, for example.

But Giving Tuesday provides us an additional opportunity to have charity towards others who are less fortunate. The essence of the human spirit is to become better than we are and to lift up others with us—to voluntarily do good. This Giving Tuesday, and throughout the holiday season, may we give of our means and our time.